I recently encountered the word draftsman in a law review article. That prompted me to give some thought to use of the word.

It’s certainly commonplace—a search of the TP-ALL database on Westlaw (“All Law Reviews, Texts & Bar Journals”) retrieved some 5,000 articles written in the last three years that use it.

I prefer to avoid gender-specific language. And not out of raging political correctness, but just because much gender-specific language seems old-fashioned now. I think that’s the case with draftsman. Just as anchorman has given way to anchor, the switch from draftsman to drafter should be painless. And it’s well under way—when I searched on Westlaw for articles written in the last three years that use drafter, Westlaw stopped counting at 10,000. (The clumsy draftsperson isn’t a serious choice. It appears in only 19 articles written in the past three years.)

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.